Friday, November 10, 2006

Fun in Frisco

Due to internet gremlins (It's not a dump truck, you know), MLS fans were unable to access Don Garber's State of the League Address live from Frisco, Texas, the site of MLS Cup 2006. That didn't stop MLS Radio from bringing us the highlights, courtesy of some BBC Sports hack who's stuck in North Texas covering Sunday's sold-out Revs-Dynamo clash.

The second-hand (now third-hand) news concerning MLS 2007:

-Toronto FC will play in the Eastern Conference
-8 clubs will still make the MLS Cup Playoffs, the top two clubs from each conference and the next best four clubs in the standings, regardless of conference
-Each club will play 30 league matches, down from 32
-A midweek MLS/MFL "Champions League" tournament will kickoff
-There will be "new international players"
-For the first time, a majority of MLS clubs (CHI, CHV, CMB, COL, FCD, LAG, TFC) will play in soccer-specific stadiums
-Expansion candidates include Atlanta, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Rochester, San Diego, San Jose, St. Louis, and Seattle (I guess Des Moines and Walla Walla, Washington didn't make the cut)

Neither Landon Donovan or Chris Armas seemed too happy with the new playoff setup in interviews on MLS Radio today. I'm ambivalent. As long as 8 clubs make the playoffs, it's all the same to me.

Of course, the reason everyone's in Frisco is the match, pitting two-time loser New England vs. two-time champion (in a former life) Houston.

Here's New England's lineup:
Heaps, Parkhurst, John
Joseph, Larentowicz, Franchino, Dorman, Riley
Noonan, Twellman

Here's Houston's:
Barrett, Robinson, Cochrane, Waibel
Serioux, De Rosario, Davis, Mullan
Dalglish, Ching

I'm not going to dig in too deep on the individual matchups, but on a personal level (and as an Eastern guy) I'd like to see New England finally break through. It would be great to see Steve Ralston, Dempsey/Noonan/Twellman and BU grad Dorman pick up rings.

Orange-clad Houston fans should rock the Deep Dish, but the Dynamo will be hurting from the void left by suspended former Metro Rico Clark. Look for the Deuce to come on late to score the game-winner in a classic. The prediction: 3-2 Revs.

Red Bulls Postmortem
I could not have been prouder than the effort put forward by the Red Bulls in their season-ending 1-1 draw in DC on Sunday, October 29th. For most of the game, New York was clearly the better squad. Amado Guevara was on top of his game, and had Jozy Altidore's 61st minute post-job gone in, New York could have pulled up an historic upset. The match was an upbeat ending to a season gone completely insane. While most of the '06 squad won't return next season, the year did end on a hopeful note, and hope is something NY fans haven't had in a while.

Television Weekend
Enjoy your time in front of the tube (times ET). Enjoy MLS Cup!

9:30am: GER: Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern Munich, GOL
10:00am: ENG: Everton-Aston Villa, FSC
11:30am: GER: Hamburg-Moenchengladbach, GOL
Noon: ENG: Blackburn-Man Utd, FSC
2:00pm: ESP: Atl. Madrid-Villareal, GOL
2:15pm: ENG: Portsmouth-Fulham, FSC
4:00pm: ITA: AC Milan-Roma, GOL
6:00pm: ESP: Valenica-Atl. Bilbao, GOL
6:00pm: MEX: Monterrey-Toluca, GALA
8:00pm: HON: Marathon-Olimpia, GOL
8:00pm: MEX: Chivas-Chiapas, TELEF
10pm: MEX: Necaxa-Veracruz, GALA

SUNDAY, Nov. 12
9:00am: ITA: Lazio-Udinese, FSC
9:00am: ITA: Palermo-Torino, GOL
11:00am: ENG: Arsenal-Liverpool, FSC
11:00am: GER: Hannover-Stuttgart, GOL
1:00pm: ENG: FA Cup: Weymouth-Bury, FSC
1:00pm: ESP: Osasuna-Real Madrid, GOL
1:00pm: MEX: UNAM-Tigres, UNI
3:00pm: ARG: Indpendiente-Racing, FSC
3:00pm: ITA: Parma-Inter Milan, GOL
3:30pm: MLS CUP 2006: Houston-New England, ABC
5:00pm: COL: Ind. Medellin-Dep. Cali, GOL
5:00pm: ITA: Catania-Livorno, FSC
5:00pm: MEX: Club America-Morelia, TELEF
7:00pm: ESP: Racing-Sevilla, GOL

And how about those Rutgers Scarlet Knights! RIP, Ed Bradley.

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